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The exchange artist : a tale of high-flying speculation and America's first banking collapse / Jane Kamensky.

By: Kamensky, Jane.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Viking, 2008Description: xvii, 442 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780670018413; 0670018414.Subject(s): Boston (Mass.) -- Social conditions | United States -- Social conditions -- To 1865 | Dexter, Andrew, 1779-1837 | Businessmen -- United StatesDDC classification: 307.76/4097446109034
Contents:
List of illustrations -- Prologue : Ruins -- Promises -- Icarus -- Reckoning -- Babel -- Conflagration -- Prometheus -- Epilogue : Relics -- A note on the drawings -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Index -- Illustration credits.
Summary: Profiles Andrew Dexter, Jr., a late-eighteenth-century financial pioneer-turned-confidence man, describing how he took advantage of suspicions about paper money and banks to promote a skyscraper building scheme that cost his investors millions of dollars.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
HN54 .K36 2008 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001937036

Includes bibliographical references (p. 337-420) and index.

List of illustrations -- Prologue : Ruins -- ch. 1. Promises -- ch. 2. Icarus -- ch. 3. Reckoning -- ch. 4. Babel -- ch. 5. Conflagration -- ch. 6. Prometheus -- Epilogue : Relics -- A note on the drawings -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Index -- Illustration credits.

Profiles Andrew Dexter, Jr., a late-eighteenth-century financial pioneer-turned-confidence man, describing how he took advantage of suspicions about paper money and banks to promote a skyscraper building scheme that cost his investors millions of dollars.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Kamensky (history, Brandeis Univ.; Governing the Tongue: The Politics of Speech in Early New England) weaves together the complicated tale surrounding Boston financial speculator Andrew Dexter Jr. (1779-1837). She shows Dexter as so rushed to make his fortune that he literally created his own money by printing promissory notes that he knew would be hard to redeem because they were drawn on distant banks that he controlled. With these notes, he financed the 1807-09 construction of the famous Exchange Coffee House--a massive combination of financial exchange, eaterie, and hotel. Dexter's scheme fell apart when local merchants determined that his banknotes were worthless and his banks insolvent. Kamensky lovingly details the Exchange building's architecture, operation, and 1818 destruction by fire. She tells of Dexter's exile, his continuing financial woes, and how he inadvertently began, through land speculation, what became Montgomery, AL. Kamensky's explanation of early banking and the dangers of undercapitalized banks is excellent, although she mixes in too much else to call this economic history. Her work is in essence a dual biography of Dexter and his Exchange building, with some fine illustrations of each. Recommended to libraries collecting on the period and especially to those in Boston and Montgomery.--Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Kamensky (Brandeis Univ.) examines the birth of speculative capitalism in the early American Republic. Along the way, she paints a vivid portrait of the American experience in the period right after independence. The author uses the physical collapse in 1818 of the Coffee Exchange House in Boston as a touchstone and metaphor for the creation of the money culture. She adeptly identifies the zeitgeist of the times--one of soaring ambition as well as soaring greed--while illuminating an outlook that ultimately helped build a new society and conquer an entire continent. Kamensky skillfully points out, however, that this story of boundless optimism also includes individuals out to make their fortune with the creation of a "paper economy." When speculative ventures based on the issuance of "worthless" paper money collapsed, the innocent as well as the guilty suffered financial ruin. This work is exhaustively documented and well written. It represents what written history can and should do. The story literally jumps off the page, being both informative and entertaining. A must read for anyone interested in the creation of the US economy. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. T. A. Aiello Gordon College

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